Amritsar, the Holy City of Sikhism • Punjab, India

Discover the spirituality of India with our video on the Golden Temple, Baba Atal Gurudwara, and the sunset ceremony of Guru Granth Sahib! In less than 23 minutes, immerse yourself in the history and significance of these sacred sites. An immersive experience that will transport you into Sikh culture and traditions. Watch now and be enchanted by the beauty of India!
00:00 • intro | 01:05 • the Sikh gurus | 03:20 • the Golden Temple • Guru Ganth Sahib | 05:15 • the bedtime of Guru Granth Sahib | 07:28 • a farm in the city | 08:19 • in the kitchens of the gurdwara | 17:40 • the Golden Temple | 19:41 • the old city bazaar

made with photos and videos taken during the trip India • Hola Mohalla 2018 • Punjab • Himachal Pradesh (EN)

Amritsar

Amritsar is the holy city of Sikhism. The city is located in the Indian state of Punjab, in northwest India, at the foot of the Himalayas and on the border with Pakistan. The partition of India during independence in 1947 split the Punjab into two, an Indian part and a Pakistani part.

Amritsar is sadly known to have been the scene of a monstrous massacre perpetrated by the British occupation army on April 13, 1919. This massacre left several hundred dead. The scene is recounted in the film "Gandhi" by Richard Attenborough.

Sikhism

Sikhism is one of the great four great religions in India. This religion was founded in the late 15th century by Guru Nanak. The principle of Sikhism is the existence of a single god. The teaching of Guru Nanak and his 9 successors makes a synthesis between mystical Islam (Sufism) and Hinduism, with however a  Hindu ominant. In the course of the history of Sikhism, it sometimes took on a mainly mystical aspect, sometimes a military dimension. With the last guru, Gorbind Singh dead in 1708, the Sikhs considered that all had been said and all the precepts taught by the gurus since Guru Nanak were recorded in a book, Adi Granth. This book took the name of Granth Sahib, and is considered the 11th guru. Grant Sahib is seen as a full man, with one birth and one death, and in between a life like that of a man. The book "sleeps" in a bed, for example. When the book is totally worn out, it is considered dead, and a new book is printed. The impression of Granth Sahib has traditionally taken place in Amritsar.

The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple of Amritsar, also called Harmandir Sahib is the Mecca of the Sikh religion. Harmadir Sahib is covered with gold, which earned him the nickname of Golden Temple.

The Golden Temple was built in the middle of an artificial lake at the beginning of the 17th century by the 5th guru, Guru Arjan. It was destroyed and rebuilt after an Afghan invasion in 1758.

More recently, in 1984, the Golden Temple was the object of a deadly bombardment by the Indian army on the orders of Indira Gandhi, to dislodge Sikh separatists who had taken refuge there. This supreme offense against Sikhism resulted in the assassination of Indira Gandhi by his personal guard, made up of Sikh soldiers, a few months later.

It is in the Golden Temple that the great sunset ceremony of Guru Granth Sahib is held daily. This impressive ceremony can be seen in this film.

A farm in the city

Amritsar is not only a holy city, but it is also a living city. So we can see a farm with several dozen cows in the center of the city.

The Gurdwara and its kitchens

The places of worship of the Sikhs are called Gurdwara. These are places of prayer where Granth Sahib (the holy book) is worshiped. Most gurdwaras have a kitchen and a free meal is served daily to anyone who wishes, whether Sikh or non-Sikh. The Amritsar gurdwara being the most important of all, the number of worshipers going there and sharing the meal offered is considerable.

Also, an overflowing and incessant activity animates the kitchens at mealtime. This impressive scene is shown in this film.

The bazaar

Amritsar being a lively city, it has like most Indian cities its shopping district, called bazaar where crowds flock to buy food for the daily meal or anything else people may need.

 

about the place, Amritsar:

Amritsar in Punjab is a city of about 1,200,000 inhabitants. The most representative monument of Amritsar is undoubtedly the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) which is one of the most important places in Sikkhism.

A large gurudwara welcomes thousands of the faithful daily for both prayer and the meal that Sikhs generally offer free of charge in their temples.

But Amritsar is also infamous for the horrible massacre perpetrated by the English in April 1919 where more than a thousand Sikhs perished in Jallianwala Bagh Park.

Spoken comments in the film: 

At the origin of Sikhism, Guru Nanak and his 9 successors. 

They all contributed to the writing of the holy book of Sikhism, and the book became the “11th guru” under the name of Guru Granth Sahib. 

He is considered a full man and it is for this reason that he sleeps in a bed but also that he can die, in which case he will be replaced by a new copy printed in Amritsar.

 

Amritsar is the Mecca of Sikkhism. The most sacred temple of this religion is the Harmandir Sahib, also called the Golden Temple because it is covered with fine gold. 

The temple was built in 1601 by the 5th guru, Guru Arjan at the very spot where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikkhism, came to meditate.

Every day, at sunset, Guru Granth Sahib is carried in procession to his bed, where he spends the night.

 

Gurdwara are places of prayer and meeting for Sikhs. That of Amritsar is located just in front of the Golden Temple and is one of the 5 main gurdwaras of Sikkhism, called Takhts, which means "throne" in Persian. 

In Sikkhism, sharing is an important value. In all gurdwaras, vegetarian meals are offered to anyone, Sikh or not, who wishes to participate in the common meal. The logistics of delivering these thousands of meals a day are impressive. 

Here are some pictures of the kitchens of Gurdwara Akal Takht at mealtime.

 

Harmandir Sahib, or Golden Temple, a holy high place of Sikhism was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Its most recent destruction took place in 1984 when Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered a major military operation to dislodge Sikhs separatists who had taken refuge there, as well as in the Gurdwara near the temple. The toll from this operation officially stands at 493 dead and 86 Sikh wounded and 84 killed and 248 wounded among the attacking troops. 

It was also this attack that led to the assassination of Indira Gandhi a few months later.

 

What's the weather like in Amritsar?

Golden temple, Amritsar, Punjab • India
the Golden Temple, at night, Amritsar • India • Punjab

the Golden Temple, at night

in the kitchens of the gurdwara. The dishes., Amritsar • India • Punjab

in the kitchens of the gurdwara. The dishes.

in the kitchens of the gurdwara. Preparing the meal, Amritsar • India • Punjab

in the kitchens of the gurdwara. Preparing the meal

the Golden Temple, by day, Amritsar • India • Punjab

the Golden Temple, by day

Amritsar • Punjab, india

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